marketing by committee part duex

A few days ago, I was participating in #b2bchat on Twitter. We were discussing corporate blogs and steveology tweeted:

I think ghost blogging can be okay if it is the CEO’s ideas on the page, but ghost tweeting is just stupid.

I responded that “Tweeting by committee is also stupid” which brought a flurry of retweets.

It’s something that I’ve always thought. One of the most popular and trafficked posts I’ve ever written was marketing by committee It struck a chord with many of my readers in the fledgling days of this blog.

It’s always been an issue with marketers. Old school marketing was (is) micromanaged and overthought. We’re seeing the same thing with new platforms.

Engage the team to help build the master marketing game plan. Then let go. Empower your marketing and social media staffs to make the right decisions and let them do it.

the part of marketing that marketing people forget

Starbucks hopped on the Foursquare marketing train early and came out with a great promotion. But Starbucks’ bold move flopped.

Why did they fail? The answer is simple. They forgot (or failed) to communicate their marketing plan with a very important group in the marketing experience — their employees. (It’s the same reason I get stiffed on free syrups when I use my Starbucks card.)

You can spend gobs of money, time, and attention on marketing to get people in the door — but the promises you’ve made with your marketing have to happen when those people come through the door.

Most of your brand is NOT built through advertising, PR, or any marketing message. The brand is mostly built through mundane daily customer experiences. It’s not sexy, but it’s true.

And the customer experience is almost totally controlled by the operational side of the business. If the marketers need/want to build a brand, they need to share their vision and brand strategy with the parts of the company who actually interact with customers.

This is true all the way from the master overall marketing strategy down to individual marketing initiatives. It’s important on all levels, but it becomes even more important when you’re using new and emerging marketing platforms like Foursquare or other forms of digital media. Innovators and Early Adopters are important groups. You want to make sure that employees are delivering superior customer experiences to people who will heavily influence WOM.

For example — The other day, a local sandwich shop tweeted that I could get 10% off if I mentioned Twitter when I ordered. I went there for lunch and mentioned it to the cashier who didn’t even know what Twitter was.

It comes down to the fact if you’re delivering messages to potential markets, you need to share the content of those messages with ALL the people in your organization. They are the ones who will make it work.

insurgents in your organization

Late last week, Alex Bogusky was elevated from CD of Crispin Porter + Bogusky to “Chief Creative Insurgent” of the ad agency’s parent company MDC Partners.

Hmmm.

Since, by definition, an insurgent is a rebel who revolts against authority or acts contrary to the policies of their organization, Bogusky has his work cut out for him. He’s fighting against “The Man” while simultaneously being “The Man“. That’s tough work.

While I typically despise jargon-ish job titles that have no meaning, the big idea behind this insurgent idea is right on target.

Every organization should have an “insurgent” that provides a contrarian point-of-view for the group. There needs to be someone to stand up and challenge the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mantra.

The trouble is that most businesses quickly get rid of…or chase off their insurgents. There’s less chaos in the organization when everyone colors inside the lines. There’s also less opportunity for new growth and the ability to react / evolve to a world and market that’s changing faster everyday.

And insurgents have a rough life. They’re usually hated by fellow members and leaders of the group.

Maybe this CP+B move is smart. Maybe having “The Man” be the insurgent is the answer. If anyone can pull it off, Bogusky can.

getting priorities straight

Paula Berg is leaving her position as Manager of Emerging Media at Southwest Airlines. And instead of burning bridges on the way out, she left a (ahem) LUV note about Southwest.

Like any good marketer — alot of it is promotional talk, but there are many items on the list that showcase how Southwest builds a brand through their employees.

The one that struck me the most was #33:

Employees first, Customers next, Shareholders last.

Companies get the order of these mixed up all the time. Actually, most businesses have priorities that are the complete reverse of this.

And then there are businesses that think the customer should be first. That’s not always true. The customer is NOT always right. But if you have treated your employees right today and shown them that they are valuable, then they are eager to make sure the customer is satisfied tomorrow.

And shareholders will be happy with their ROI because good employees cultivate good customers (see previous paragraph) who are loyal to the brand and continue to spend money with the company.